|Date of Birth||December 27, 1884|
|Place of Birth||Carman, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Esther Ann Morrow, mother, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Sheet Metal Worker|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||September 23, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||29|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 23, 1958|
|Age at Death||73|
|Buried At||Royal Oak Burial Park Cemetery, Saanich, BC|
|Plot||Garden E 291|
Murdoch Arthur Morrow was born on 27 December 1894 in Carman, Manitoba, date and place confirmed by a late Manitoba birth registration of 1956. His father William Dixon Morrow was from Ireland while his mother Esther Ann Munro was from Scotland, the couple marrying on 11 September 1873 in Owen Sound, Ontario. William and Esther farmed in nearby Arran where children Sarah Christa (b abt 1875), Margaret Agnes (b 1876), and George Dixon (b 1882) were born. The family then moved to the Carman area to farm where children Murdoch, William Wallace (b abt 1887), and Isabella (b abt 1888) were born. After William Sr died on 2 December 1888 the family stayed for a while in the area, Esther listed as a seamstress on the 1891 census. By the time of the 1901 census the family had relocated to Winnipeg where Esther ran a boarding house. Margaret Agnes married George Johnston in 1896 and Sarah Christa married Franklin Harris in 1900, both in the RM of Dufferin/Carman.
Murdoch signed his attestation papers on 23 September 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec with the 5th Battalion. At some point before enlisting he had been living in Keewatin, Ontario. His date and place of birth was given as 27 December 1895 in Carman, occupation as sheet metal worker although elsewhere in his record it was given as draughtsman, and his mother Esther in Winnipeg as next of kin.
The 5th Battalion was authorized on 10 August 1914 and recruited in Brandon in Manitoba, Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, Red Deer in Alberta and Merritt and Vernon in British Columbia. It was mobilized at Camp Valcartier, Quebec and embarked for Great Britain on 29 September 1915. It entered the theatre of operations in France on 14 February 1915, where it fought as part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.
While training at Salisbury in England, Murdoch was promoted to Corporal, proceeding to France on 9 February 1915. In late April, at Ypres, he sustained a slight gunshot wound to the arm and was admitted to the No 14 Field Ambulance and then on to the No 5 General Hospital in Rouen, discharged in early May. On 24 May, at Festubert, William sustained a severe gunshot wound to the arm. He was admitted to the No 1 General Hospital in Wimereux, the bone badly shattered and infection having set in. His arm was amputated and Murdoch was invalided to England on 4 June, admitted to the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich. A second surgery was performed to remove a bone fragment, with Murdoch transferring to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Bromley in late July. He was discharged on 17 September and embarked for Canada aboard the Missanabie on 29 October. Murdoch was discharged from service as no longer medically fit in Quebec on 11 November 1915, his character described as very good and intended residence as Winnipeg. He was granted a one year pension of $192.
By 1917 Murdoch was living in Lethbridge, Alberta where he applied for a land grant to homestead on 21 August. However the grant was cancelled in June of 1918 as the requirements for the land had not been met. According to his service record Murdoch was still living in Lethbridge in 1921 but at some point he moved to the Victoria area on Vancouver Island.
On 10 October 1924, in Victoria, Murdoch married Alberta Jane Brookes. At the time of the marriage Murdoch’s occupation was given as poultry rancher and Alberta’s as X-ray technician. Born on 15 August 1888 in Elia, Toronto, Ontario, Alberta was the daughter of Samuel Tucker Brookes and Fanny Bennett. As a Nursing Sister Alberta had arrived in England in May of 1917, first serving at the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, named changed to No 16 Canadian General Hospital later that year. She arrived in France in late August of 1918 to serve at the No 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Calais. She was admitted to the No 35 General Hospital in Calais with influenza in late October, returning to the No 10 CSH after discharge on 7 November. In mid March 1919 Alberta was granted a fourteen day leave. Returning to England, in April she was transferred to the No 16 Canadian General Hospital in Orpington. That September she was posted to the Araguaya for sailing to Canada, embarking on the 11th. Alberta was struck off strength from service on 21 September 1919. Her discharge paper noted that at some point she has also served on the Essequibo. After the war Alberta had moved to Victoria to work at the Jubilee Hospital.
Murdoch and Alberta farmed in the Glen Lake/Happy Valley area west of Victoria on southern Vancouver Island. They gave birth to two children, Margaret Ann (b 1926) and Sylvia Jean (1927). It appears that Murdoch was admitted to the Veterans Memorial Pavilion, Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria in January of 1957, with Alberta renting an apartment across the street although they kept the property at Glen Lake. Murdoch died on 23 August 1958 at the hospital, occupation given as retired soldier on his BC death record. His Veteran Death card gave his wife Alberta of Glen Lake as next of kin. He was predeceased by his mother Esther in 1929 in Winnipeg and brother William in 1926 in San Francisco, both interred in Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg. As Captain of the Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, his brother George was listed as missing in the sinking of the Nerissa, a passenger and cargo steamer that was torpedoed and sunk on 30 April 1941 about 100 miles northwest of the Donegal on the coast of Ireland during World War II by the German submarine U-552. Following 39 wartime voyages between Canada and Britain all but 84 of the 290 ship’s complement of passengers crew were lost. She was the only transport carrying Canadian troops to be lost during World War II. George is interred the Ballinakill (St Thomas) Church of Ireland Churchyard Cemetery.
After Murdoch’s death Alberta moved to downtown Victoria, residing in the Sussex Apartment Hotel on Douglas Street. She died at home on 10 November 1963 and along with Murdoch is interred in the Royal Oak Burial Park in Saanich.
By Judy Stockham
Gravemarker photos: courtesy of Betty & Dan on findagrave.com